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Crane Duet System Concertina


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One other thing. On an anglo, it’s easy to get a bass-chord oompah going, if that’s your thing. I never managed that on my Crane without losing my hand position.

Just to relativise that: I find that once you've identified the buttons you need for your chord, playing them as a block chord, an arpeggio or an oom-pah is just as easy on the Crane as on the Anglo. However, it's easier to identify the buttons needed for the chord on an Anglo (in its home keys), which makes the whole chording thing seem simpler!

 

But on an anglo, you can use 3 fingers for the triad and your little finger for the alternating bass notes, all without moving your hand position. The fact that the bottom octave has gaps in it (and the instrument is bisonoric) means that the bass buttons are not far away.

On a Crane, the bass note is some distance from the triad (and probably uses one of the fingers you also use for the triad) so your hand is jumping about more between the bass and the chord. That was my experience, anyway.

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Hello Karl,

 

Much of what has already been mentioned is generally consistent with my experience,

 

Here are some thoughts that might be helpful to you based on my experience with the various duet systems.

 

1. Determine the ease of transition and consistency between the melodic and chordal structures which you will predominantly play – especially between a I chord shape and the IV and V chord shapes and locations, e.g., distances and stretch.

 

2. Are relative minors important?

 

3. Are semitones and accidentals prominent and frequent?

 

4. If so, in what keys are these most likely to occur?

 

5. Consider the ease with which one can transition from a 7th to a 6th to an augmented to a major to a minor to a diminished chord.

 

6. Determine how important uniformity is to you.

Note that the Maccann layout has a huge (what I call “rotational”) shift in both hands.

 

7. Is it comfortable to reach “down” on the keypad for a higher note?

 

8. Is it comfortable to reach completely across the keyboard into another row for a related semitone?

 

9. Your wife might appreciate that the Crane layout could be viewed as an “upside down” Stradella layout.

 

Below are some melody lines that have proven very helpful to me in my evaluation of various systems and layouts. They have been my go-to references, so to speak.

 

The first is the same set in different keys with different starting locations among the white and black keys on a piano keyboard. Though it is the same melodic sequence, some are much easier and others are much more difficult to execute depending on the key and the layout.

 

The second melody line is a simple sequence in its usual key.

 

Additionally, you might want to experiment with the melody line of Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5. It is very accessible and it will reveal a great deal to you in a very short period of time.

 

Regrettably, I have limited experience with folk music so I have no material to suggest to you for experimentation; however, I’m certain there are others here who can – and hopefully will – provide you with recommendations.

 

Perhaps this will help in some way/s. Please keep in mind that this is my own perspective and will likely differ from that of others'.

 

Be Well,

Dan

 

 

D D# F# G A Bb A G F# F# D G G

A A C Bb A G F# F# D G

 

B C Eb E F# G F# E Eb Eb B E E

F# F# A G F# E Eb Eb B E

 

E F G# A B C B A G# G# E A A

B B D C B A G# G# E A

 

F F# A Bb C C# C Bb A A F Bb Bb

C C Eb C# C Bb A A F Bb

 

F# G Bb B C# D C# B Bb Bb F# B B

C# C# E D C# B Bb Bb F# B

 

G# A C C# D# E D# C# C C G# C# C#

D# D# F# E D# C# C C G# C#

 

 

 

Bb Bb A A G G F# F# D

Bb Bb G A A F# G G F# F# D

G G F Eb D C D Bb A G

F# G A D – D(octave lower) – E F# G

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Can I be a devil's advocate for a moment?

 

If you're an anglo player, it just might be worth looking at a Jeffries duet. On paper the Jeffries duet system looks insane but it's actually very playable (you only need to listen to Michael Hebbert for proof of this) and closely related to the anglo. It's a bit like an anglo that's been unfolded. On a c-core Jeffries duet you would find chord shapes for all the usual chords you'd play in C major on the anglo feel very familiar.

 

Availability is an issue, granted, but if one crops up it might be worth having a go.

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Except Jeffries Duet and Anglo might be too similar to be able to easily switch between the two. I have to resist playing the same tune on both instruments - I end up not being able to play it on either! And if you want to play in keys outside the home key of the Jeffries Duet it gets pretty dicey pretty fast.

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On a C-core Jeffries Duet all the keys round the circle of fifths from Bb to E are manageable with practice in my experience. Outside of that it can be a bit horrific esp. if you go flatter, but really it's no harder to play outside the home keys of C/G/D and F than the Maccann. In some ways I find it easier to be honest.

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[[[i was less comfortable with tunes. Straightforward English dance music was fine but I could never quite get the lift I wanted, and fast Irish tunes were out of the question. The reason? I’m left-handed. I await contradiction (!!) but this was the decider for me. With an English or anglo, you often move from note to note by changing hands or bellows direction. On a duet, every new note is a new button on the right hand. My weaker hand just didn't give me the degree of control I wanted. So, for me, you need to think about the kind of music you want to play and also whether you’re a righty or a lefty. Maybe a left-handed duetter can respond here?]]]

 

this is true of all the duets. none of them are as fast or fluid for super-rapid single-melody-line music as anglo or EC. but they're not chopped liver, either. there are some astonishingly fast recordings of right-hand melody on the maccann. i am left-handed, but i had about seven years of piano as a kid and currently play cba, which is right-hand melody, with no problem. but the ergonomics of the right-side cba and pa keyboards are such that the right side can be played much faster than the right side of a duet. i'm not sure i've figured out precisely all the factors that make this is so, but it definitely is so. one factor would be that you can play the right side of these instruments with all five fingers, though i don't think that's the only factor.

 

of course, i do see that the issue of whether a right-side-melody instrument would be harder for some lefties would definitely be one of, YMMV.

 

i know you're looking for concertina reeds....but for anybody wanting to play in all keys and not minding the sound of accordion reeds, one can get a small, single-reeded, one-voice CBA with 2 octaves of freebass (single notes rather than oom-pah chords) on the left side, weighs about 9 1/2 pounds. you can make chords or double-stops on the left side, or just use the single notes as wanted or needed. this config would be like a louder, more powerful hybrid concertina, but playable in all keys. i think EC is pretty chromatically playable, but this would be even more so. of course, it's not a concertina.... :rolleyes:

Edited by ceemonster
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but the ergonomics of the right-side cba and pa keyboards are such that the right side can be played much faster than the right side of a duet.

 

Also being a pianist and a lapsed piano accordion operator, I don't agree with this, I'm afraid. There's a large hurdle in terms of hours of practice to obtain fluidity, but it's perfectly possible to play a well set up duet keyboard at breakneck speed.

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This is consistent with my own experience on a "C-core" and an "A-core" Jeffries (duets, of course).

This seems also to be true of the Crane given the limited scope in the left hand and the accidentals being placed in the outside rows.

The problems do begin to creep in, however, if, like me, one has a disposition toward isomorphism and is predisposed to uniformity.

It seems to me that the concept of outboard accidentals works just fine on the English as it provides a predictable structure and orientation, but, personally, I've found this arrangement on a duet to be less than ideal.

 

 

 

On a C-core Jeffries Duet all the keys round the circle of fifths from Bb to E are manageable with practice in my experience. Outside of that it can be a bit horrific esp. if you go flatter, but really it's no harder to play outside the home keys of C/G/D and F than the Maccann. In some ways I find it easier to be honest.

Edited by danersen
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